Save A Life: 8 Signs To Recognize Self Harm

Save A Life: 8 Signs To Recognize Self Harm

It's not always as obvious as cuts on someone's wrists
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Self harm is the act of intentionally hurting oneself in a way that is impulsive and not intended to be lethal. According to Mental Health America, approximately 15% of teens and adolescents report some form of self injury. This percentage increases to 17%-35% for college students. These statistics, which are already troubling, do not account for the vast number of people whose self harm goes unnoticed.

Self mutilation can take many forms. The most common form of self harm is cutting. However, other methods include: burning, excessive scratching, repeatedly banging one's head, punching one's self or other objects, and drinking harmful substances. Additionally, many people who self harm make an effort to keep their actions a secret. While self harm is often generalized to cuts on a person's wrist, injury can occur anywhere on a person's body. A person may have cuts on their hips, bruises on their upper arms, or damage to their internal organs. Therefore, it can not be assumed that a person with no visible wounds is not inflicting harm to themselves.

Self harm has various warning signs, many of which are overlooked. Recognizing the warning signs of self injury is a crucial part of finding help for those who need it most. Take the time to educate yourself on several common signs of self harm:

1. Frequent unexplained injuries

The most obvious sign is visible injury, including cuts and burns. A person with these injuries may make excuses for how the injury occurred. For example, questions regarding cuts may be met with, "My cat scratched me." When asked about bruises, a person may simply say, "I fell." While both responses are plausible, consistent excuses should generate concern for the person's well-being.

2. Wearing long sleeves and pants in hot weather

Maybe it's a fashion statement. But more likely than not, a person is attempting to hide their injuries. Many people who self harm feel self conscious or ashamed of their injuries. They hide their wounds in order to keep their actions a secret. They understand the stigma surrounding mental health and the labels that people receive for self-harming. In their opinion, it is easier to hide their pain than to seek help. Another method of hiding injuries could be to wrap a body part in a bandage, saying that they hurt their arm, leg, etc...

3. Repetitive scratching

Constantly scratching a specific part of one's body may be done for several reasons. When cuts are healing and forming a scab, they tend to itch. A person may also be scratching as a more subtle form of self harm until they are alone. While scratching could be due to something as harmless as a mosquito bite, it could also be a sign of self injury.

4. Low self esteem

One reason that people self harm is to obtain relief from some negative state of mind. Persistent feelings of worthlessness, failure, and self-loathing should not be taken lightly. A person experiencing these feelings may suffer from self harm, depression, an eating disorder, or a combination of these and other mental health problems.

5. Signs of an underlying psychological disorder

Self harm often occurs when some form of mental illness is already present. Common psychological disorders in which people also self harm include: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and borderline personality disorder. If a person is known to have one of these disorders and displays other warning signs, there is a high chance that self injury is occurring.

6. Difficulty handling emotions

Many people use the act of self harm as a way of coping with emotional distress that is difficult to express otherwise. A person may also seem irritable, easily offended, or constantly depressed. They may have recently experienced an event that caused these negative emotions to arise.

7. Relationship problems

People also self harm as a way of dealing with problems in relationships. They may feel anger towards another or blame themselves for the issues. They may self harm as a way of feeling in control when they feel like they have no control over other situations.

8. Withdrawal and isolation

A sudden shift in a person's social interaction may be indicative of self injury. People who withdraw themselves from friends and family may feel alone and misunderstood. They may also withdraw from hobbies, receiving little pleasure from the activities they once loved.


These are just some of many warning signs of self injury. Be aware of the signs; do not ignore them. It is all too easy to turn the other cheek, but a person struggling with self harm needs help and support. I struggled with self harm on and off for several years before I was able to tell someone about it. I have had friends say, "If you hadn't told me, I would have never thought you were dealing with that." The warning signs are frequently missed, simply because nobody is looking for them. Please make an effort to look for them. Your actions could save a life.

If you suspect that someone you know is struggling with self harm, do not confront them in an accusatory manner. Be gentle and ask if they are experiencing anything that they wish to discuss. If a person confides in you and asks you not to tell, it is not in their best interest to keep their actions a secret. Go to a trusted adult, such as a school counselor, that can assist the person in finding other helpful resources.

For anyone who may currently struggle with self harm, remember that you are not alone.You are not a lesser individual because of the problems you experience. Admitting that you need help is not a sign of weakness; it is an act of strength. You are strong enough to get through these dark times. Contact one of the following hotlines and receive the help you deserve.

Self Injury Hotlines:

1-800-273-TALK

1-800-334-HELP


Cover Image Credit: Medscape

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Tanya Gold, Your Fatphobic Article Is Uneducated And Arrogant

BREAKING NEWS: Women come in all different shapes and sizes!

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Just recently, Nike released a plus-size mannequin at one of their stores in London that showed off their plus-size leggings and sports bra. And, because we live in a world where being fat or overweight or obese is somehow the worst thing in the world to some people, this has sparked a lot of discussion.

Tanya Gold wrote an article for The Telegraph saying that this mannequin “cannot run" and is “likely pre-diabetic" and “on her way to a hip-replacement." Not only is Tanya's article uneducated and poorly written, it's completely fatphobic and embarrassing.

What I would like to know is this: why can't plus-size women work out in Nike clothes just like a size 2 woman? People want to scream from the rooftops that plus-size women are fat because they don't exercise and when companies FINALLY start catering to plus-size women with clothes they can EXERCISE IN, people lose their minds and think that they're promoting obesity.

What are plus sized women supposed to work out in if they can't even wear Nike leggings without being fat-shamed?

Would you rather them wear jeans? Overalls? A parka, maybe? What about a garbage bag?

Let's also discuss the fact that being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy, just like being at a “normal" weight doesn't make you healthy. Did you ever stop to think that some women have diseases that make them gain weight that they, in return, can't lose? Some women can eat salad for every single meal, seven days a week and they still can't lose weight.

Let's all say this together: SIZE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FITNESS. Being thin doesn't equal being healthy and being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy.

Everyone (and yes, I mean EVERYONE) should be able to be comfortable in their own skin AND in their clothes.

You can't sit and pout saying that fat people don't care about their health and then when they want comfortable clothes to wear while they're EXERCISING, hell has frozen over and how dare Nike cater to people who aren't a size 2.

Tanya, be honest with yourself. You aren't anywhere near a size 2, either, so where is all of this coming from? Are you self-loathing? Do you have some kind of internal fatphobia?

Pick a side, Tanya. You can't hate people who are overweight because you think that they aren't exercising and then when they do exercise and they get clothes that cater to them, it's all of the sudden wrong and horrible.

We are damned if we do, damned if we don't. As if women (and men) weren't already being shamed enough for being plus size, we're now being made to feel bad because a brand caters to our size so we can wear the same clothes all of the other sizes can wear.

Thank you, Nike, for making your brand more inclusive for all shapes and sizes so we can ALL feel confident in our clothes.

I think it's worth mentioning that Nike released their plus-size line in 2017 AKA 2 years ago... Why weren't you mad then?

Oh, and, Tanya Gold, you might want to stop smoking since you're all about being healthy, right? You don't want to get lung cancer or anything, do you?

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